Former Summerville homeless shelter employee accused in tax fraud scheme

The U.S. Justice Department is asking the courts to keep a Summerville woman from filing anyone else’s federal taxes after alleging she siphoned off thousands of dollars that was owed to the federal government.

The government has filed a request for a permanent injunction against Jessica Geddis, 28, of Gallashaw Road, from further preparing federal income tax returns, according to the Justice Department. No criminal charges have been filed against her.

Working from home and as a tax preparer at MBM Tax and Accounting Services since 2007, Geddis prepared tax returns for herself and others, including “clients” of a homeless shelter where she also served as a social worker. She allegedly exploited Internal Revenue Service loopholes, documentation exemptions and tax credits to haul in larger refunds and divert that cash to her accounts, according to the complaint filed in federal court.

Geddis used the alleged scheme in preparing returns for clients of the Palmetto House, a Crisis Ministries homeless shelter in Summerville, according to the federal complaint.

Amy Zeigler, spokeswoman for Crisis Ministries, told The Post and Courier Geddis is no longer employed there. She said she could not speak further about Geddis’ employment history because she can’t discuss personnel matters.

It was unclear in the federal complaint who the shelter clients were and if they included the homeless. “At this point we can’t determine from this document who the people are,” Zeigler said.

Geddis is accused of directing the IRS to deposit all or portions of her customers’ refunds into her own bank accounts, according to the complaint.

The IRS reviewed Geddis’ bank records and discovered she received at least 148 tax refunds totaling $281,678 between January 2008 and 2012, the complaint stated. The complaint does not indicate how much of that money the government believes was fraudulently obtained. The total also did not include any refunds Geddis might have received as a tax preparer for MBM, according to federal documents.

“Many of Geddis’ customers may be liable to pay the refunds they received to the IRS, plus penalties and interest, even though Geddis directed the IRS to deposit a portion or all of the refunds into her bank accounts,” the complaint stated.

Geddis could not be reached for comment.

She is the third tax preparer with MBM recently accused of swindling the federal government out of money.

A permanent injunction was approved in July against Stacy Middleton and George Jenkins, tax preparers with MBM, whom the Justice Department has accused of costing the government $55 million. Middleton worked out of the Charleston office on King Street. Jenkins worked out of the company’s Blythewood office in Columbia. Middleton and Jenkins allegedly created fake deductions and credits or duplicated existing returns, according to court records. The pair are also accused of reporting nonexistent business expenses and deductions on returns in order to create phony business losses to offset their customer’s wages.

Criminal charges have not been filed against the two men.

MBM has five offices around the state, according to the company’s website before it was taken down. The site is no longer available.

No one answered the phone at the North Charleston, downtown Charleston or Summerville offices Wednesday afternoon.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.

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